The Narrative Tableau: Conceptual Strategies in Studio Photography

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Spring 2017
Day and Evening
Credits per quarter

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This program will explore the range of challenges, problems and possibilities in conceptualizing, constructing, and photographing in a studio environment. Students can expect to use a broad range of materials (cameras, printing techniques, etc.) but all shooting will remain on film (35mm, medium, and large format). While students can expect to print from those negatives in traditional black and white and color darkrooms, the program will also cover the process of scanning negatives and producing digital prints from those scans. The primary focus of the program will be how to formulate the outlines of a cohesive body of work, conduct research for that content, and for students to ultimately produce images based on that research in a controlled, studio environment.

We will employ strategies for challenging basic assumptions about the role and lexicon of the constructed image as well as immerse ourselves in the rich history of narrative tableaus (still lifes, historical paintings, etc.) as they have developed over the course of art history. Students will be asked to place their work and ideas within the context of contemporary photography and contemporary art, more generally, as the photograph has become an almost ubiquitous surrogate for lived experience. Students will be especially challenged to confront how their photographs are situated within the context of representation and depiction (addressing the inevitable conclusion that all images are, at their core, political in one way or another).

Students will be responsible for providing a written statement regarding their final body of work, which will reflect the quarter’s accumulation of research, transformation, and final production. Students can expect to edit down their quarter’s worth of images to 8-11 final photographs, which will constitute their final body of work. There will be weekly lectures, critiques, and seminars in addition to workshops and studio time. Students will also be required to attend the weekly Critical and Cultural Theory lecture series. Students can expect weekly reading assignments followed with written responses and formal participation in each seminar.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: art history, photography, media studies and visual arts.

Online learning:
  • No Required Online Learning - No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional.
Special expenses:

Students can expect to spend between $400 - $700 on their own materials, such as paper, film and materials required for tableau construction.


$100 for materials and supplies.

Scheduled for: Day and Evening

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

Students should expect to spend a significant amount of time outside of scheduled class time in the photo studio and darkrooms.

2016-05-10New spring opportunity added.